Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. ix

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Foreword: Away from Dūra (or Life in the Margins)

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pp. xi-xiv

Sāmī ʿAmr’s mandate-era memoirs of his days working for the British in Palestine in the 1940s provides us with a rare intimate window into the world of thousands of Palestinians who flocked from their villages and provincial towns during the crucial...

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xix

This book emerges out of a chance meeting I had with the diarist’s eldest son, Samīr ʿAmr, and his wife on an airplane en route to Jordan in 1999. The few words I exchanged with a flight attendant in Arabic precipitated the opportunity to work on this rare...

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Note on Translation, Transcription, and Usage

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pp. xxi-xxiv

Every effort has been made in the diary’s translation both to maintain the flavor of the Arabic original and to make it accessible to the reader of English. Thus, while many of the cultural expressions have been retained, some phrases have been changed...

Part 1: History and Historiography of the Diary

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The Diarist and His Times

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pp. 3-34

The title of Sāmī ʿAmr’s diary, My Memoirs of This Life (Mudhakkirātī fī hadhahī al-ḥayāt), bears a subtitle that sums up how this young Palestinian diarist viewed his life: “The Battle of Life” (Maʿrikat al-ḥayāt). Written with emotion and political candor...

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Historiography and Themes of the Diary

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pp. 35-66

Historical source material can turn up in the most interesting of places, often in archives. Old documents become the treasure of families whose elders pass them down from one generation to the next. Diaries, as part of the family treasure, provide a link...

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Conclusion: To Write or Not to Write

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pp. 66-68

Sāmī faced many challenges during the period in which he wrote his diary: the move to Jerusalem, his brother’s enlistment and imprisonment, the sale of family property, his employment situation, and his awkwardness around girls, among others...

Part 2: Translation of the Diary of Sāmī ʿAmr

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pp. 69-154

Appendix 1: Genealogy of the ʿAmr Family

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pp. 156-157

Appendix 2: People Mentioned in the Diary

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pp. 158-159

Bibliography

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pp. 162-167

Index

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pp. 170-179